How to Plan, Prepare, and Practice Home Fire Drills
Each year there are an average of 358,300 home structure fires in the U.S. These fires cause an annual average of 2,560 civilian fire deaths, 12,720 civilian fire injuries, and $6.7 billion in direct property damage. As well, each year in the U.S., there are over 100,000 wildfires (4 in 5 of which are caused by people), which destroy 4-9 million acres of land and countless properties and homes.
Living in the Wasatch we are highly susceptible to the possibility of wildfires breaking out and endangering our homes and our families. Additionally, the possibility of a home structure fire is always a threat, no matter where you reside.
The Park City Fire District is always monitoring fire danger and, of course, we are always prepared in the event of a fire in our area. However, even with adequate fire prevention and smoke detectors in the home, in the event of a fire, getting your family to safety quickly and efficiently is paramount.
Planning an Exit Drill In the Home
Follow the steps below to create your Exit Drill In the Home (EDITH) plan and, of course, don’t forget to practice, practice, practice!
- Consider how you will escape from each and every room, beginning with bedrooms.
- If possible, plan more than one escape route in each room, understanding that where the fire is located may allow you to escape through a door or may force you to use a window.
- Next, plan everyone’s role. Who will make sure the children are accounted for and get out safely? If there are individuals with special needs, how will they get out?
- Decide where you will meet once you are outside. Remember, if there are multiple children or elderly family members you may need to split up to get them out.
- Keep hallways, staircases, and floors as clear of clutter as possible.
- Have a flashlight with fresh batteries conveniently located near your bed.
- Practice with your entire family, ideally once a month.
Having an EDITH plan ensures that you and your family have the best chance at getting out of your home safely and securely. In the event of a wildfire the Park City Fire Department will alert all residents to the presence of the fire and if necessary, the need to evacuate. When evacuating a wildfire, you’ll want to be sure you have a 72-hour survival kit complete with:
- Food and water for 72 hours
- Flashlight and batteries
- First-aid kit
This kit should be kept in your car or very close by in case of a rapid evacuation. If there is time secure your home and collect your valuables. If there is not time, remember, people always come first. Get out and stay alive.